Rejected Fairmont project heads to court

Council meeting: Fairmont Resort

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The proposed $300 million Fairmont Resort project is heading for the Planning and Environment Court after Councillors voted unanimously at today’s Open session to endorse the town planners’ recommendation to refuse this development.

In confirming that he will lodge his application today, developer Paul Chiodo said the Douglas Shire Council is “closed for business”, has a “total disconnect with the community” and there is no strategy to boost economic development in the shire.

The Planning and Environment Court hears matters relating to planning and development, protection for environment and coast, marine parks, conservation areas and more.

“I am moving quickly to get this matter before the court so we can proceed and build a five-star property in Port Douglas,” said Chiodo.

Chiodo also levelled his attack at Mayor Michael Kerr and the four councillors who did not offer any solutions.

“Mayor Kerr has shown weakness and has been hypocritical. When we first spoke, he loved the idea. Of late, there has been a change in direction and based on what’s occurred today, has set a precedent.

“As far as I am concerned, the Douglas Shire Council is closed for business and this decision is a clear message to anyone wanting to develop in this town,” said Chiodo.

Of the councillors, Abigail Noli said she supported the town planners’ recommendations; Lisa Scomazzon said she hoped the developer meets with the planners as this would be great for tourism; while Roy Zammataro and Peter McKeown said the development was outside of the Planning Scheme.

Based on social media comments, Mayor Kerr said there is a segment of the community who do not understand the Planning Scheme. This development has raised the ire of many who are desperate to see large scale development in this town and have been critical of Council, the town planners and the councillors.

Indigenous communities

The proposed development has drawn the support of local Indigenous communities, as they look to partner with Chiodo Corporation on unprecedented employment opportunities and cultural initiatives. 

And Terry O’Shane of Kubirriwarra Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation said he will be extremely disappointed if the Douglas Shire Council does not fully support this project, given Chiodo Corporation has entered into a partnership agreement with Kubirriwarra Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation to provide jobs during construction, and within the hotel, as a key part of the company's reconciliation plan with First Nations People. 

“The construction of this hotel represents a wonderful opportunity for our communities’ involvement in the project. It represents an opportunity for jobs and training not only in the construction phase, but also in the operation of the hotel in the future.

“It also presents a magnificent chance to promote the cultural heritage of First Nations communities in North Queensland, to the wider community, in ways that have not been possible before,” he said.

A linchpin in the economic recovery of the region following a painful decline in tourism due to restrictions, the planned resort at 71-85 Port Douglas Road will be the first new hotel to be built in Port Douglas in 20 years.

It will offer guests a selection of 253 luxury rooms, several restaurants and bars, a decadent day spa, a treetop walk and panoramic conference and wedding facilities, all designed around resort-style pools and built to blend seamlessly with nature.

Jewel in the Crown

Earlier this year, Chiodo labelled this development as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Chiodo Corporation’s Development Portfolio.

He said this is the first of the planned luxury resorts that they are planning to roll out over the coming years.

The proposed resort is a hotel management deal with Accor. It will also be a part of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, a world-wide brand.

The proposed property will be located on the old Havana site – situated between Oaks Hotels and Resorts and the Mirage Country Club. Generally accepted as the most notable eye sore in the town, this piece of land has sat empty for years and is now considered jinxed.

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